Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Nectarine Chutney

I bought a large punnet of “Ripen-at-home” nectarines last Friday – they had deep rosy-hued skins and looked gorgeous; I foolishly fell for their charms.

Ripen-at-home? Yeah, right…not a chance! They sat on the breakfast bar in the warmth of my south-facing kitchen for five days and the bloody things were still as hard as a cricket ball – they could have been used as lethal weapons! I gave up waiting for them to become edible and made some chutney with them yesterday – sadly, I am not a woman who’s known for her patience.

I looked online and found nothing for nectarine chutney that appealed but there were loads of recipes for peach chutney if you happen to have a fruit bowl full of rock-hard peaches. They all involved skinning the peaches, understandable when the skins are hairy, but I was looking for something less fiddly; I just knew there was no hope of getting the skins off those damned nectarines!

I could tell you that I adapted my Chilli Plum chutney recipe… or, I could be completely honest and say that, in the end, I made this one up as I went along. As I’ve said before, chutney is very forgiving; just as well, really…

600g nectarines (after stoning)
325g red onions (after peeling)
125g dates
30g root ginger
30g garlic
1 tsp cayenne
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp salt
325ml cider vinegar
300g white or soft brown sugar (I used a mixture)

Blitz the ginger and garlic, cumin, cayenne, salt and a couple of tablespoons of the measured vinegar until slushy. Chop the nectarines, onions and dates into largish dice and put into a large wide pan; add the garlic and ginger mix, the vinegar and sugar.

Stir well and bring to the boil then turn the heat down and let it bubble away steadily for about an hour until thick, stirring occasionally, by which time it will be a deep tawny colour. It’s ready when a channel drawn across the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon leaves almost no liquid behind.

Pot up into hot sterilised jars while the chutney is still very hot and allow to mature for about 6 weeks before eating.

Makes 5 190g jars.

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